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Gray areas prompt Bay City to consider surveying

At its monthly board meeting Wednesday, Oct. 11, Bay City Village Board members talked about possibly surveying parcels of land the village owns.

Trustee Jesse Hohmann began the discussion by examining his concerns with the property lines identified through the Pierce County interactive map that show the parcels' land area.

Hohmann said that many of the village's property lines go through homes or onto streets and that a surveyor should come take a look.

In 1987, Hohmann said surveying was done after the purchase of a shed by the village. After the purchase, residents decided to survey their land to find their property lines.

Since then, residents have negotiated with the village around land parcels, according to Hohmann.

Hohmann's concern revolves around the immense cost of the potential surveying project.

"To do all this, it's going to cost the village a hell of a lot of money," Hohmann said. "And then you have to make all these other properties agree with this and folks are going to say that this guy is on our street."

Hohmann said that he would be willing to do the surveying for the village, but Trustee Davis Niebeling said the village should hire an independent surveyor.

"They aren't going to believe you," Niebeling said. "You're going to have to have a professional surveyor come in there and survey that property. Then they know where our lines are and we'll know where our lines are."

The parcel numbers are the following: 106010100800, 106010100400, 106010090900, 106010200200, 106010200600, 106010200500, 106010190800, 106010110110.

One parcel, 106010110110, which is .346 acres of land located in the Hortenbach Field, is owned by the village, but not far from it is land owned by Bay City resident Van Johnson.

Board members believed a discussion between Johnson and the village took place awhile ago about a potential land swap that would give the village all of the ballpark land and Johnson some land outside of the left field fence.

Hohmann doubted the land swap occurred, nor was it brought up to the Planning Commission. However, Trustee Jon Ebensperger disagreed and thought it had.

Another instance involves parcel 106010090900, which is located next to W6502 Market St. According to the property lines from the Pierce County interactive map, the village's property lines goes through the middle of a house owned by Steve Meixner.

"You're going to have more land disputes," Hohmann said. "We've got two going right now."

Niebeling suggested the village survey the parcels and if residents were not happy with the results, they could survey their land at their own cost.

"We can survey our land and if they think that's wrong then they gotta survey their land," Niebeling said.

"Ok, when it's done, are you going to tell this guy that he has to tear his house down?" Hohmann said. "What's the end result? Are you going to tell Steve Meixner that he has to move his house?"

Public Works employee Doug Whaley said the surveying would help him immensely, showing a more clear picture of what areas he and Public Works need to keep maintained.

"For me, it would just be nice to know what we own, so I can maintain it," Whaley said. "Because there's so many gray areas down there that I don't know if we own it, if we don't do anything with it, I just don't know. And no one knows."

Hohmann remained stuck on the cost the surveying would be, with board members assuring him that surveying would be done only on village property.

Trustee Norman Baker made a motion to contact a professional surveying company to see how expensive it will be to survey the lands in question.

The board tabled the discussion until they have prices from a professional land surveyor.

Other business

• The board unanimously accepted an offer of $4,500 from Terry Buss, of Menomonie, for a pile of logs near the Wastewater Treatment facility.

• The board held a discussion about parallel parking along the west side of Wabash Street, in front of Thrifty Sisters, rather than diagonal parking. The board took no action on the item.

• The board held a discussion on a possible railroad crossing closing on Wabash Street. The board has been trying to reach individuals involved in the project and have expressed their concerns of closing down the crossing. The crossing is supposed to be closed on Oct. 18 at 7 a.m. and open Oct. 19 at 4 p.m., but the board couldn't confirm it at the time.

• The board unanimously approved an amendment to Resolution 2017-7.

• The board held a closed session about threatening or pending litigation against David Meixner regarding Market Street and adjoining land, eminent domain proceedings with Meixner and Peavey properties, an item concerning possible litigation involving an alleged violation of nonconforming or use restrictions of Flood Plain Ordinance and Meixner's property, eminent domain proceedings with the Peavey Property. There was no action, due to the inability to reach the village's hired attorney, Ryan Simatic of Biersdorf & Associates out of Minneapolis. The board claimed their phone wasn't working properly.

• The board held a closed session regarding employment and unanimously approved the following:

• A 25 cent raise for Public Works employee Kirk Heusinkvelt.

• A 25 cent raise for Village Clerk Shawnie King.

• A $1.50 raise for Public Works employee Doug Whaley once he passes his Wastewater certification. If he doesn't pass, it'll be a 25 cent raise.

• The board unanimously approved the interview process for the Village Clerk position to begin on Oct. 16. King said she is going to move down to part-time so she can focus on her privately owned business.

Matthew Lambert

Matthew Lambert joined the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal in December 2016 covering government, school board, and writing features about the community. He is a graduate of Winona State University with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism.